The number of tourists invading Toscana has dramatically decreased now that it is nearing the end of autumn. I gauge that the high season has come to an end not only by the drop in numbers, but prices have thankfully eased up as well. Thank goodness because I am too tired to keep track of my budget any longer. You wouldn’t be able to tell by the weather, however, because November has been quite pleasant for the last few of us tourists lingering in the city. It’s a bit deceptive when you look outside the window to see a gray sky and clouds, but I wore my flip-flops as walked down to get a cappuccino, do some laundry and shop at the amazing Mercato Centrale this morning (even at my 4th visit, it is still one of my favorite places in all of Italy, but if you don’t like to cook, or you are a vegetarian, you may think it is offensive or just plain sucks arse).
There are no more queues to visit museums, no more sold-out events, or trains so full you have to wait for the next one. It is such a joy to have some space and time to get to know the intricacies of the city, the surrounding areas, the people, and of course the food. I finally broke down and decided to see the last couple of museums that I had missed on the first trip through. One was the Palazzo Medici – I figured as much as I have been stalking this family through the history of Italy, it was time to consider seeing their family home in Florence. Of course, the furniture was as huge as their egos and quite lovely, too. Their house is huge, and as we all know the churches in Italy are huge, but they have a church IN their house! Okay, I am exaggerating a bit since the church is no Duomo, more like a sanctuary, but the house is still grotesquely large. Not only do they have their own church, but they also built a museum for their Roman marble statues in the basement. The Medici’s set the standard for this whole need for human beings to fill up on art and culture business.
On April 25, 1494, King Charles VIII and Piero di Gino Capponi met to discuss the impending Florentine revolution against the French and when the meeting began to get heated it was in the Great Room of the Palazzo that Capponi stood up and threatened the entire French legion, in front of the King by saying, “If you sound your trumpets, we shall toll our bells.” In other words, Italians don’t get mad, and they don’t get even, they get one up on your ass. (Tell me you have at least seen the Godfather movies?! Ugh!) I found this quite impressive, as the most memorable quote I can claim having been stated in my house is “Donde esta El Columbian Bam-Bam?” Definitely not going to explain it, nor is it quite as cool.
Moving on then….to the Palazzo Vecchio – the last museum I toured in Firenze. I have only walked by the huge 13th century castle every night this week, I thought it fitting that I actually check out the inside. The “Old Palace” was built during the 13th Century and has served as the town hall of Florence until the present day. There are many passage ways that Pope Leo X (from the Medici Family) used to duck in and out of when he would come to visit his brothers, but they have them shut off, which I think is really rude. Passageways in a castle are way more interesting than 85 Madonna with Child paintings, but I guess the mayor and the city council still use this building for meetings, and tourists in the passageways can get quite loud since we all get so excited about touring passageways in a castle, so they got tired of their “important” meetings being constantly disrupted by the noise. Party poopers.
Instead of pretending I am Indiana Jones tromping through passageways, I get to stand here and stare at yet another Roman statue with no clothes on. (Since I have had time to think about it, I have determined that the Romans were just a bunch of big ol’ MOs….why else would all of the men be naked and all of the female statues clothed?!)
Although, I will say that they did have some damn fine booties. I’ve also realized that the angle in which I took this photo is highly inappropriate.
On that note, it is time for me to get my ass on a train to Paris. Arrivederce e Grazie Firenze, mi amore, I will miss you!